Ron Asmus is dead. The security community has lost one of its greats. I knew Ron for many years and had nothing but liking and respect for him. He was not just an analyst, we are ten a penny, but a man who had been at the coalface of geo-politics and wore the soot on his face with pride.
I am off to Estonia this week to address a high-level conference. As a child of the Cold War my freedom to go to that great country has much to do with the vision and determination of Ron. A couple of years ago Ron and I were in Afghanistan together as he struggled with the illness that has claimed him. He took a photo of me on a first contact visit with US forces. It is a photo I treasure not just because of the implicit “I was there” all arm-chairers seek for legitimisation, but also because it was taken by Ron; for whom an arm-chair was a lethal weapon on the battleground of negotiation.
No soaring rhetoric, no slick reference to popular culture.
Ron, job done!